In my role as a coach, I have the unique opportunity to understand workplace issues from multiple perspectives. I help executives develop clear messaging and thoughtful plans for the future, and I work with new college grads as they navigate what exactly it means to have a 9-5.
It’s easy to feel like needs and wants “the boss” and “the newbie” are at different ends of the spectrum, but in this role, I’ve realized that across the board, they can be incredibly similar.
One of the issues that seems to creep up over and over is the idea of making people feel cared about. Higher-ups want to retain talent, and people on lower rungs of the career ladder want to feel like they matter. However, I’ve seen some really funky ways of investing in employees that don’t always land well.
I’m constantly thinking about how to incorporate humanity into all aspects of the workplace, so the concept of investing in employees and promoting well-being is often at the top of my mind. The New England Journal of Medicine breaks down this issue nicely when it comes to healthcare, though the lessons can be translated to almost any profession.
Avoiding burnout comes from a combination of efficiency of practice, a culture of wellness and personal resilience – yet, so often initiatives to engage overworked employees focus solely on the “personal resilience” portion of this equation. Understandably, some feel resentment when they are told to meditate more or carve out time to take a walk as a way to prevent burnout, when contributing factors such as inadequate staffing or a culture that promotes excessive amounts of overtime make it nearly impossible to practice these techniques.
Investing in your team absolutely matters. But how you invest is just as important.
- Invest your time – don’t arrive 15 minutes late to meetings as your employees idly wait, and schedule time to provide meaningful and constructive feedback to the people on your team.
- Invest in resources and training – perhaps your employees can use a yearly tuition budget to cover the cost of interesting and non-mandatory workshops, or don’t count time away in classes toward their PTO bank.
- And finally, invest in advocacy – systemic changes make a difference (see “efficiency of practice” and “culture of wellness” items above) and they are worth fighting for.
I believe we all want what’s best for each other, both personally and professionally. With a bit of thought and intentionality, we can invest our time and energy into what will truly make a difference.
This week’s challenge
Ask yourself – how am I investing in the people I care about? It doesn’t matter if you’re not a boss (or heck, if you even have a job). Lucky for you, this challenge applies to anyone. Take stock in how you treat others and if you’re really appreciating them in a way that works for them (and not just you!). If you don’t know how to best show that you care, just ask. I bet it will spark some great conversation.
We love that you always want more. Here are some of the best articles that crossed our newsfeeds this week:
- “I am a human being and I need connection with other human beings on a deeper, much more complicated level than what the internet can provide for me.”
- How to Level-Up Your Emotional Intelligence
- “It might seem strange to think that the roller-coaster world of entrepreneurship helped me recover from burnout and depression, but it did.”
- Lizzo’s ‘Cuz I Love You’ is True Self-Care